Warning over icy conditions as weather alert issued

Met Éireann predicts very windy and stormy conditions ahead of Christmas

Ryan Sherlock from Dundrum braving a recent snowfall on Kilakee Road for a cycle, near the Sally Gap Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Ryan Sherlock from Dundrum braving a recent snowfall on Kilakee Road for a cycle, near the Sally Gap Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Mon, Dec 23, 2013, 17:12

Motorists have been warned about stormy conditions in many parts of the country today with very windy and frosty conditions also forecast for the coming days.

Met Éireann issued an orange weather warning and AA Roadwatch said particular care was needed in sheltered areas and on higher ground this morning.

Road users were urged to take extreme care, with fallen debris likely to cause a real hazard. The storm is expected to bring south-west winds of 100km/h to 130km/h with the strongest gusts expected across the western and northern coasts.

The Road Safety Authority said there will be a risk of vehicles veering across the road to avoid debris while drivers might not have full control of vehicles in strong winds. High-sided vehicles, motorcyclists and cyclists are particularly vulnerable to strong winds, the authority said.

Met Éireann described the storm as vigorous and issued a wind warning for Munster, Leinster, Connacht, Donegal, Monaghan and Cavan.

An Atlantic depression is expected to pass just to the north-west of Ireland overnight and to bring severe winds for a time tomorrow. A yellow weather warning is in place for winds across Wexford, Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Sligo, Clare, Cork, Kerry and Waterford.

There were very slippery conditions on the N2 Dublin/Monaghan Road this morning between Ashbourne and Ardee.

Black ice was reported on the Carrickmacross to Dundalk road (R178) at Ballykelly and also on secondary routes in Dundalk itself.

In Meath, it was very slippery in the Dunshaughlin, Athboy and Kells areas.

Roads in parts of Carlow were also reported to be very slippery and breezy conditions halted some Irish Sea high-speed ferry crossings, with more cancellations set for today.

Snow fell in parts of south Dublin and Wicklow and also in counties Meath, Kildare and Louth yesterday.

Some 9,000 homes, mostly in the south of the country, were without power yesterday morning as a result of damage caused by lightning.

Temperatures were forecast by Met Éireann to reach between 8 and 11 degrees today, much warmer than the marginally sub-zero figures recorded yesterday that resulted in back ice in some parts.

Christmas Day is expected to be a crisp and cold day. There will be a frosty start, with temperatures as low as minus two degrees in the early hours, with the possibility of a dusting of snow on higher ground, adding to concerns around road conditions.